How Local Law Enforcement is Responding to the Brussels Attack

Officials say no specific threats have been made against Philadelphia, but they are promising higher visibility and asking for increased civilian vigilance.

SEPTA Chief of Police Thomas Nestel | Mariam Dembele

SEPTA Chief of Police Thomas Nestel | Mariam Dembele

At a press conference held at SEPTA’s Market Street headquarters this morning, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel discussed plans to keep Philly commuters safe in the wake of the Brussels Attack. His main strategies include increased SEPTA Police visibility and requesting that travelers remain vigilant.

Early Tuesday, attacks on Brussels’s airport and metro left at least 30 dead and dozens injured.

“I think that the important thing to remember is that terrorism can’t stop a people,” said Nestel. “We won’t allow terrorists to interfere with our lives and at the same time we want to make sure that our riders, here in Philadelphia, feel safe and secure.”

“We will be more visible and we are asking the public to be more aware,” Nestel said.

Nestel, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross in comments given earlier in the day, have both said that no specific threats have been made against Philadelphia. However, they will be upping police presence as a precaution.

Nestel could not give specifics as to where the officers will be stationed or how many additional officers will be on duty. He did note that SEPTA’s explosive-detection canine unit has been deployed and will remain deployed for some time. Ross also said this morning that there will be increased police presence at local transportation hubs and the Philadelphia International Airport and that there will be increased attention to “non-secure areas down there.”

Amtrak has taken similar measures, in a statement they promised that extra officers have been deployed. They also have said that they are working with other law enforcement to gather and share intelligence. Additional security has been seen at 30th Street Station.

Nestel asked that as officials increase vigilance, that the public do the same.

“It’s time for folks to see something and say something, if you see something suspicious and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, we want to know. Call 911 immediately,” Nestel said. “I know that folks are reluctant to call 911 because they think that they’re burdening the police or bothering the police — bother us. Call 911.”

David Gambacorta contributed reporting to this piece.

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